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Liability For Failure To Provide Treatment

A health care provider that refuses medical treatment according to the wishes of a competent and informed patient and in good faith to him/her, then such provider cannot be subjected to civil or criminal liability.  However, where an affidavit has been signed to release the hospital and medical personnel from any potential liability, inaction on the part of those who could have saved the patient’s life requires that the court step in to order the administration of the lifesaving medical treatment, where there is a state interest which is sufficiently strong to replace the patient’s alleged right to die.  The parents shall be liable for failing to provide lifesaving treatment for children whose conditions may be cured by treatment or whose impaired bodily functions may be restored.

However, In re L.H.R., 253 Ga. 439 (Ga. 1984), the court stated that the right to refuse treatment or indeed to terminate treatment may be exercised by the parents or legal guardian of an infant after diagnosis that the infant is terminally ill with no hope of recovery and that the infant exists in a chronic vegetative state with no reasonable possibility of attaining cognitive function.  Such a diagnosis and prognosis should be made by attending physicians who have no self interest in the outcome of the case.

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